'Slipstream' is one of those films that cannot be easily categorised, despite it's sci-fi themes, which is probably why it has slipped off the radar over the years. Notable largely for being Mark Hamill's first big screen appearance since 'Return of the Jedi', there is a considerable amount more to explore and marvel at in what proves to be a highly unique and enjoyable movie.
Sci-fi this may be but 'Slipstream' will not please those looking for alien warfare, flashy technology or general all-out action. In fact, this is a surprisingly philosophical journey of self for fugitive android Byron (the wonderful and sadly missed Bob Peck) and rogue flyer Matt Owens (Bill Paxton) as they mingle in several strange and fragile communities and interact with the inhabitants. It is also hard to ignore the religious overtones, for example Byron's search for a disingenuous place of santuary and peace. It also doubles up as a chase movie, with the two unlikely allies being relentlessly pursued by Hamill's ruthless lawman.
As much as I enjoyed this film, it doesn't succeed entirely in its ambitions and often meanders when trying to search for meaning. Time has not been kind either, with several effects looking extremely dated and eighties rock tracks uncomfortably spliced into the soundtrack. But the chase element is exciting and works well, while the acting is, on the whole, effective. Peck is particularly good, Paxton is good value and Hamill more than shakes off his pristine Luke Skywalker image, as a quite nasty bad guy. Hamill however, despite the hype, isn't really in the film all that much. A shame, as his morally complex cop was arguably the most intriguing character and his performance warranted further exploration.
'Slipstream', as much as I enjoyed it, can only be recommended as a curio more than anything else, as it has many flaws. But for those willing to involve themselves deeper in its concepts, there's a fascinating ride here that many will delight in discovering.